Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Mr. Chew had been for several year's desirous of retiring from public concerns, and reposing in the lap of private life the Solicitudes and growing infirmities of age. But at the earnest intreaty of his friends, he consented to retain the presidency of the high court of errors and appeals, till the year 1807, when that i ribunal was abolished by an act of the legislature of the state. Thus closed a course of distinguished and almost uninterrupted services to his country protracted to the unusual term of sixty pears.

In the year 1808 Mr. Chew's health began perceptibly to decine. Nor was this declension to be regarded as exclusivelyperhaps, not even principally, the effect of actual disease. It was the final shattering of his constitution under the pressure of years the exhaustion of the powers of nature in their conflict with time. But it was his corporeal powers only that failed in the combat and submitted to the conqueror. The powers of his mind held out in vigour to the last, bidding a noble defiance to both time and disease. It was reserved for Death alone, the vanquisher of all that is sublunary, not indeed to subdue these, but to transfer them from their fallen mansion on earth to a fuirer and imperishable dwelling in the IIeavens-a dwelling, where they are destined to exercise their functions with the ener2:y of celestials, to advance in endless and more elevated attainments, and to realize fruitions far beyond the conception of mor. tals.

On the 20th of January 1810 this venerable patriarch-a patriarch in virtues no less than in years, yielded up his spirit at i.he summons from above, having attained the advanced age of cighty-seven years, one month, and eleven days.

Mr. Chew had been twice married. His first wife was Mary the daughter of Samuel Galloway, of West River, Maryland, a lady of singular beauty, acquirements, and worth. She was alike distinguished for the graces of her person, the elegance of her manners, and the solid as well as the ornamental accomplishments of her mind. Nor were the qualities of her heart in any measure inferior to her other endowments. A rich, polished, and sprigthly conversation threw a charm around her in general

society, while an amiable disposition, accompanied by all the milder virtues, conferred on her a peculiar fitness to give and rcceive domestic happiness. His second marriage was with Elizabeth the daughter of James Oswald, of Philadelphia. As this lady is still living, an ornament and example to society at large, and all but the idol of her family and friends, it might be deemed indelicate to dwell on her character. It would be injustice, however, not to observe, that she is no way inferior to her to whose place she succeeded, and is, in every respect, worthy of him to whose fortunes she was united, and whose name she assumed.

The children of Mr. Chew, by his two marriages were numerous, and most of them are now living. The writer of this. memoir, alike unwilling to flatter or to offend, has no wish to approach them with unmerited panegyric. Nor will he, as he believes, with those who know them, subject himself to the charge or even suspicion of this, in saying, that they and their descendants fill up, at present, in society a sphere equal in extent and genuine respectability to that filled by the descendants of

any individual in the United States.

Were I to attempt to sketch, in brief, a few of the outlines of Mr. Chew's character, the following, or something like it, would be the miniature I would form. He was a man of consummate worth, rather than of real great

His talents, though not the most elevated and commanding, were yet sufficiently elevated, to be of the most useful kind. They were solid and practical, calculated to benefit mankind, not buoyant and speculative, fit only to amuse and delight them. An excellant early education combined with subsequent habits of study and observation, had enriched them with all that culture could bestow. His industry, accuracy, and punctuality in business were much more than a substitute for the most exalted talents, where these cardinal qualities are wanting. His heart was a hotbed of the moral, social, and domestic virtues. His hospitality was without bounds, and his easy affluence enabled him to indulge this noble propensity. His soul was the seat of an expanded benevolence, and his hand the liberal dispenser of charity. Though he never achieved any thing to render his name peculiarly con

ness.

spicuous, yet the general amount of 'ris reputation equalled in respectability the glitter of fame. Like sterling metal, it was pure, solid and durable, wholly independent of any peculiar cast of public sentiment. Rcared on the everlas:ing basis of v.rtuc, and cemented by the actions of a long life of general usefulness, it was incapable of being subverted by any of :he convulsions to which society is liable.

In addition to his more sui tantilities and acquirements, Mr. Chew's taste was cultivated and refined, his conversation casy and animited, his deportinant graceful and pleasing, and his wit not unfrequen:ly pl.:p!ul and sparkling. Ilis elevated rank in society, the style of afluence in wl.ich he lived, and the public stations which he so long continued to fill, led him of necessity into frequent entertainmen's. On these occasions the most sprightly and engaging display of conrivial qualities was tempered by an observance of the strictest decorum. Hence he knew how to partake of the pleasures and iniagle in all the revelry of the table, without either descending from his dignity or forfeiting for a moment his title to respect.

Were I capable of bestowing on any humble picture that softness and masterly finish which are due to the original, I would now intrude for a moment into the sanctuary of Mr. Chew's private mansion, and sketch the features of his domestic charac

But on this point despair of success forbids enterprize and paralyzes exertion. To the love and veneration of his household, while living, and to the cloquence of their grief in his departing moments, I must commit the task in which I feel it would be presuinption to engage.

In height Mr. Chew somewhat exceeded the middle stature. When

young he was reputed handsome, and being of a dark complexion his beauty was manly. His personal appearance was always dignisicd and commanding—In the latter years of his life it was peculiarly venerable. Take from it the case and polish of modern manners, and substitute in their place the austere and unbending air of antiquity, and it would have well become a Grecian philosopher or a senator of Rome. Were titles and honours hereditary in the United States, a stranger.on entering Mr. Chew's

dwelling and being personally introduced to him in the bosom of his family, would have been ready to exclaim, “ This is one of the ancient and well-bred nobles of the land.”

C.

FOREIGN BIOGRAPHY.

LIFE OF MR. WINDHAM.

MR. WINDHAM was descended from an ancient and highly respectable family in the county of Norfolk, where they had resided for several generations, and possessed a considerable property. His father, William Windham, was one of the most admired characters of his time; and, in 1756, soon after the plan of a national militia was formed by Mr. Pitt (afterwards earl of Chatham), this gentleman, in conjunction with the late marquis Townshend, was extremely zealous and active in promoting and carrying into execution that scheme, which has since proved so salutary to his country. On this subject he published one or two very excellent pamphlets. He died in 1761, leaving his only son, then eleven years old, under the care of the executors of his will, the Rev. Dr. Dampier, then under master of Eton-school, and Mr. Garrick. Mr. Windham was born åt Felbrigge-hall, the family seat in Norfolk, in March 1750.. He received the early part of his education at Eton, where he continued from 1762 to the autumn of 1766, when he removed to the University of Glasgow, where he resided for about a year in the house of Dr. Anderson, professor of natural philosophy, and diligently attended his lectures: and those of Dr. Robert Simson, professor of mathematics, the well-known author of a Treatise on Conic Sections, and of other learned works. Here first probably he became fond of those studies, to which he was ever afterwards strongly addicted. * In September 1767,

* Mr. W. has left behind him three treatises on mathematical subjects, which he directed, by his will, should be put into the hands of the bishop of Rochester, Dr. Horsely, who was then living; adding, that if he should think them of any value, they might be published.

he became a gentleman conmoner of University college in Oxford, Mr. (afterwards sir Robert) Chambers, being his tutor. During his academic course* (from 1767 to 1771) he was highly distinguished for his application to various studies, for his love of enterprise, for that frank and graceful address, and that honourable deportment, which gave a lustre to his character through every period of his life. In 1773, when he was but twentythree years old, his love of adventure, and his thirst of knowledge, induced him to accompany his friend Constantine lord Mulgrave, in his voyage towards the North Pole; but he was so harassed with sea-sickness, that he was under the necessity of being landed in Norway, and of wholly abandoning his purpose. In 1778 he became a major in the Norfolk Militia, then quartered at Bury in Suffolk, where, by his intrepidity and personal cxertion,t he quelled a dangerous mutiny, which had broken out; notwithstanding he was highly beloved by the regiment. On one of the mutineers laying hold of his dress, he felled him to the ground and put him into confinement; and, on his comrades afterwards surrounding him, and insisting on the release of the delinquent, he drew his sword, and kept them at bay, till a party of his own company joined and rescued him. Soon afterwards, in consequence of his being obliged to remain for several hours in wet clothes, he was seized with a dangerous bilious fever, which nearly deprived him of his life. In the autumn of that year, partly with a view of restoring his health, he went abroad, and spent the two following years in Switzerland and Italy. Previously to his leaving England, he was chosen a member of the literary club, founded by sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr. Johnson, (who had the greatest esteem for Mr. Windham;) and, notwithstanding

* In 1782, he was created M. A. and in 1793, D. C. L. at the installation of the duke of Portland; when so hig': was the admiration of his character', that on his entering the theatre, the whole assembly rose from their seats, and hailed him with loud applause.

+ Of his dauntless courage many instances might be given. In 1785, he ascended from Moulsey Hurst in a balloon, with Mr. Sadler; and in 1793, having visited the army engaged in the siege of Valenciennes, he surveyed all the works with the most minute attention, in company with captain, now colonel, Thornton, and approached so near the enemy, that he was often within the reach of their cannon,

« PoprzedniaDalej »